Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Last Stop

Hi everyone, I'm writing to you from Tehachapi, CA, in the K-Mart of all places. This is the last big stop before hitting Kennedy Meadows and the start of the Sierras, so there is a bit of a bottleneck of hikers; nobody wants to head up into the snow too soon or alone, so everyone has slowed down and seems to be taking stock of things here. The general concensus is that the situation isn't going to be getting better any time soon, so, we hikers being an impatient lot, most of us are just going to charge into the mountains. After loading up on burgers and shakes here in town that is. In reality, that hurdle is more than a week away, but all eyes and thoughts are on the Sierras for now.

Ironically, I just finished reading "The Places in Between" by a former Scottish diplomat named Rory Stewart, an account of the author's trek, on foot, across Afghanistan. This was apparently the last leg of a trans-Asia hike he began in 2000 that took 19 months to complete. His tales of breaking trail in 14,000 foot, snow covered mountains where the temperatures reach -40 degrees, make any obstacle in California seem like childs play by comparison. And we don't have to worry about former Taliban warlords interrogating us or village children calling half feral dogs on us. Suddenly everything seems easier after that.

On that note, the walk from Hikertown to here was supposed to be a grueling march across a spur of the Mojave Desert, complete with sparse water and baking temperatures. Instead, it was a relatively easy, if boring, jaunt across the sands due to a lucky break in the weather. It was overcast, cool and moist during our crossing, so the 6 of us who left from Hikertown (Handyman, Andrew, Half-brew, Rosie, Bruce and I) were able to make good time and save ourselves some anguish. We even recieved a light shower in the Tehachapi Mountains last night and were rewarded with a perfect rainbow over the desert with the sunrise this morning. The rest of the hike was fairly pleasant with some shade, a smattering of Joshua trees (some of the last we'll be seeing, I'm told), and a descent into a windmill filled valley. I plan on staying here for a day at least in order to meet up with some trail workers outside of town and hopefully kill some time cleaning up the path. After that, its into the mountains again, and unfortunately out of regular contact; I think the time of updating the blog every other day is about to pass. Until then, I'll try to keep posting. Talk to you later.

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